GenreDrama, History, War ScreenplayMichael Blankfort CountryUnited States
Release dateMay 5, 1953 (1953-05-05) WriterMichael Blankfort (novel), Michael Blankfort (screenplay) CastKirk Douglas (Hans Muller), Paul Stewart (Detective Karni), Milly Vitale (Ya'El), Joseph Walsh (Yehoshua Bresler (as Joey Walsh)), Alf Kjellin (Daniel), Charles Lane (Rosenberg) Similar moviesFury, Captain America: The First Avenger, You Don't Mess With the Zohan, Munich, The Book Thief, The Monuments Men
The juggler theatrical trailer
The Juggler (1953) is a drama film about a survivor of the Holocaust, played by Kirk Douglas. The screenplay was adapted by Michael Blankfort from his novel of the same name.
After World War II, a German named Hans Müller (Kirk Douglas) is one of a shipload of Jewish refugees who disembark at Haifa in 1949. Like many other concentration camp survivors, Hans has psychological problems, including survivor guilt. At one point, he mistakes a woman and some children for his murdered family.
At the first opportunity, he sneaks out of the refugee camp and goes into the city. When he spots a policeman, Hans panics and reacts by fleeing. The policeman chases him down and begins questioning him. Hans becomes very agitated and attacks, leaving the man unconscious in the street. Hans flees and ends up sleeping in the countryside, where he is found by a teenage orphan Sabra, Yehoshua "Josh" Bresler (Joey Walsh). Hans pretends to be an eccentric American, out to see Israel firsthand. Josh offers to be his guide. During their journey, Hans reveals that he was a professional juggler; Josh persuades him to pass on his knowledge. Meanwhile, police detective Karni (Paul Stewart) sets out to track the fugitive down.
On their journey, Josh is injured when he wanders into a minefield. He is taken to a hospital at a nearby kibbutz; fortunately, he has only broken his leg. While Josh recovers, Hans becomes acquainted with one of the residents, Ya'el (Milly Vitale). They are attracted to each other, but he at first strongly resists her attempt to persuade him to remain at the kibbutz. He reveals to her that he had ignored warnings from friends to flee Nazi Germany before it was too late, making the fatal mistake of counting on his fame and popularity to protect his family. Gradually, however, he begins to settle in.
Karni finally tracks Hans down and tries to take him into custody. Hans panics again and barricades himself in Ya'el's room with her rifle, but Ya'el and Karni get him to admit he needs help and to give himself up.
Kirk Douglas as Hans Muller
Milly Vitale as Ya'El
Paul Stewart as Detective Karni
Joseph Walsh as Yehoshua Bresler
Alf Kjellin as Daniel
Beverly Washburn as Susy, a young refugee girl Hans befriends in Haifa
Charles Lane as Rosenberg
John Banner as Emile Halevy, the sole witness to Hans' assault on the policeman